Legal Updates

STATE FIREFIGHTER RAISES  Earlier this summer, the First District Court of Appeal ruled that Governor Scott’s veto of a 2015  $2,000 pay raise for state firefighters did not violate collective-bargaining rights.  The firefighter’s union has appealed to the Florida Supreme Court with arguments given on September 26th.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS LAWSUIT  As previously reported, 13 school districts have joined a lawsuit challenging a far-reaching bill passed by the 2017 Legislature which, among other things, requires districts to share construction and maintenance funding with charter schools.   Palm Beach County recently filed their own separate suit.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA LICENSE  During the June special session, the Legislature passed a bill which would implement the voter mandated sale of medical marijuana.  Included in the bill was a requirement that one of the 10 new grower licenses must go to an African-American farmer.  The law requires that the farmer awarded the license must be a member of a specific farmer’s association as well as be a part of a federal discrimination lawsuit.  Columbus Smith, a black farmer who is not a part of the eligible pool of license holders, sued the State alleging that the requirements were unfair and violated Florida law.

REGGIE FULLWOOD FINES  After pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud and failure to file a tax return, Representative Reggie Fullwood (D-Jacksonville) resigned his office in October, 2016.  Since then, the Florida Elections Commission determined that he violated Florida campaign laws on 17 different counts, resulting in $17,000 in fines.  The Commission has filed a suit in Leon County Circuit Court, attempting to collect the fines.

NURSING HOME SUITS  Fourteen residents of a South Florida nursing home allegedly died due to the loss of air conditioning in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  The State has shut down the facility and four lawsuits have been filed to date.  The first two allege that the nursing home’s administrators and staff were negligent in not moving the residents to the hospital located across the street.  The other two suits target Florida Power and Light as a defendant.

 ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE RECUSAL  The State of Florida filed a motion to get an administrative law judge removed from a medical marijuana case.  The State alleged the judge has prejudged the issue and is working to help the plaintiff, Keith St. Germain Nursery Farms.  The nursery is involved in a case concerning a rejected grower license.  The judge ruled against the motion saying the State had waited too long to file an objection.

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